Sheffield’s annual SteamFest is celebrating
25 years this March and one day is not long enough to take it all in.
Behind its recently refurbished
entrance 'The Sheffield Steam and Heritage Centre’ is home to a kilometre of
610mm rail track, 400 metres of 7.5, and 5 inch miniature rail track and sheds
of railway rolling stock and historical machinery.
From its humble beginnings in 1994,
SteamFest has grown to become one of this state's major festivals with
intrastate, interstate and overseas exposure, and with patronage growing
It is more than a gathering of one
or two steam engines. There are many steam traction engines, the tractors of
their day, still working as a living display. Many of these have close links
with the area and were pivotal in the development of the Kentish region, and
Tasmania more generally. These engines
drive one of the most complete sets of displays of steam power to be seen in
Australia with steam powered rock crushing, threshing, straw pressing, chaff
cutting and winching being undertaken with the steam train and majestic Mt
Roland in the background.
The rather quaint 2 foot gauge
Krauss steam locomotive delights children through its similarity to a famous TV
cartoon, complete with a real 'Fat Controller'. It also brings back memories to
people who travelled on the Railton to Roland Branch Line as it ran through our town
between 1914 and 1957. International visitors make up a significant proportion
of our passengers, and they are spellbound by the uniqueness of this little
railway, the likes of which they have never seen.
While we love our vintage steam
powered machinery, we graciously accept their successors. As such there is a
huge working display of historical machinery on site, chattering away like
hyperactive children clustered around their stately and slow moving grandparents,
still with their heads in a previous century.
Returning to our theme 'A Living
Thing', we would all agree that steam engines appear to be living things; they
have movement, they grunt and groan as they do useful work. That wonderful
children's TV series has given them voice, and a personality. Similarly,
SteamFest takes on its own being. Each event is different, and will continue to
be so. It is the expression of human imagination, skills and energy.
There are so many events on the
program, so many exhibits and so much to see, the best I can do is refer you to
this century's technology, websites and Facebook, while I go back to helping to
run a railway.
Saturday 9 - Monday 11 March 2019
Sheffield Recreation Precinct, corner of Main Street and Spring Street, Sheffield
Gates open at 9.30am and close at 5pm
Thank you to Brenton Wheare and Jill Ridgway, for Red Water Creek Steam and Heritage Society